International students studying in Australia

International students studying in Australia

Many overseas students consider studying in Australia from high school. International students studying in Australia can immerse in the culture, broaden their horizons and enhance their education.

Australia has a significant role in international education, being one of the most popular countries for international students to study in.

Around 82% of international students in independent schools attend in their secondary years of schooling (high school). Approximately over half of these students attend senior high school.

Most international students attending independent schools are from China, followed by Hong-Kong, Vietnam, South Korea and Papua New Guinea.

Choosing a High School for international students studying in Australia

Many independent schools offer extensive options for international students studying in Australia.

At Alphington Grammar School our primary focus is the health and wellbeing of our students and ensuring that every student experiences success. Studying overseas can provide challenges for some students. 

We pride ourselves on knowing our students, respecting, and appreciating cultural differences so that all students experience success in their own unique way. Our goal is to help our students do their best at every step along the educational journey.

Ms Mary Kontosis, International Student Coordinator, Alphington Grammar School, Victoria

According to the Victorian State Government Australia, there are also approximately 120 accredited government secondary schools in Victoria for students who wish to participate in an International Student Program.

What is an international student in Australia?

Your child will qualify as an international student if they:

  • Are not an Australian citizen;
  • Are not a New Zealand citizen; or
  • Permanent resident of Australia.

Options for International students studying in Australia

There are a variety of options for international students who wish to attend secondary school in Australia.

According to GoToAustralia, there are three main options for international students studying in Australia:

1. Study Abroad Program

Students may attend an independent or public high school for 3-12 months in Australia.

2. Regional Study Abroad Program

Students may attend an independent or public high school ‘outside of a major city’ for 3-12 months in Australia.

 3. Australian High School Certificate

  • Students attend senior high school (Year 11 and 12) for 2 years
  • Students have the opportunity to earn a high school certificate that is internationally recognised
  • Each state or territory has a different education system for senior high school (For example, in Victoria students complete the VCE and in NSW, students complete the HSC)
  • The senior high school years in every state and territory will include some of exams in subjects your child chooses for senior school

If your child would like to complete the Australian High School Certificate, ensure it is recognised for the university your child plans to attend. 

For example, if your child studies in New South Wales, ensure the ATAR or IB Diploma is eligible at the university in your home country etc.

Living arrangements

Your child may live with a parent, guardian or relative whilst undergoing their education in Australia if they are 13 years or older.

Other options include:

Living with a homestay family

Homestay is a common option for international students travelling by themselves.

Homestay allows your child to stay with a local family to provide support and connection to the community.

The homestay option is a great way to have your child immerse in Australian culture and gain confidence in the language.
Many independent schools arrange homestay themselves, utilising their community of carefully screened families. Schools may also arrange families through a contracted homestay accommodation agency, commonly Australian Homestay Network (AHN).

 Living in a boarding schools

Boarding schools are often available in independent schools in Australia.

For boarding arrangements, it is best to enquire within the school.

English language requirements for International students studying in Australia

The English language requirements vary slightly depending on the state or territory.

In New South Wales:

Junior High School

  • Minimum score of 5.0 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or an equivalent approved language test; OR
  • Secondary studies conducted in English for at least 2 years; OR 
  • Intensive English program completed in a NSW school.

Senior High School

  • Minimum score of 5.5 in IELTS or equivalent approved language test; OR
  • Secondary studies conducted in English for at least 2 years; OR 
  • Intensive English program completed in a NSW school.

In Victoria:

In general, your child must demonstrate they have:

  • School studies conducted in English for at least 2 years; OR 
  • An AEAS score of 66 or higher; OR 
  • An internet-based TOEFL score of at least 69; OR

Year 10 entry

  • An IELTS score of at least 5.5; OR 
  • An EIKEN score of Grade 3 or higher.

Year 11 entry

  • A general IELTS score of at least 6.0; OR 
  • Am EIKEN score of Grade Pre-2 or higher.

Benefits of Australian High Schools for international students

 Improve English speaking skills

Undertaking education overseas is a great way for your child to improve their English speaking skills.

Your child is immersed in the culture and school and required to speak English to peers, teachers, other authorities and navigate daily life in English.

Subject range

Australian schools have a wide range of subjects for your child to choose from. 

Whilst having requirements in the general academic subjects, your child can achieve high marks in a variety of new areas.

Australian schools have an extensive range of science subjects, music class options and more unique electives including entrepreneurial learning.

In senior high school, the subjects your child chooses may even affect their final grades.

Extracurricular opportunities

Schools in Australia, particularly independent schools, have many extracurricular activities or clubs for your child to experience.

Depending on the school, your child may experiment in a range of different areas from robotics to equestrian.

Multicultural society

Australia is composed of many cultures. This allows your child to fit in seamlessly and upkeep their wellbeing.

Additionally, your child may find friends with a similar culture, language or customs to help them adjust to the big change.

World Class Education

Australian schools provide for high quality education.

Additionally, students who successfully complete their Year 11 and 12 studies in Victoria or NSW will receive an internationally recognised Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR).
Alternatively, many schools also offer the International Baccalaureate program; a globally recognised educational qualification.

Where to start

  • Check eligibility requirements (language and living arrangements)
  • Learn about the school fees and cost of living in the state or territory you are considering for your child
  • Learn what type of visa you will need to apply for
  • Fill out the relevant application forms for international study in your state

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 38 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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